Through October 1
JOHN Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theater
Sometimes a show just doesn’t work.
Road Less Traveled’s “John” qualifies.
Besides that, it’s boring.
That’s not often true of shows around here, as opposed to the hundreds of bad movies I saw as a one-time movie reviewer.
One prominent local movie reviewer would just leave in disgust sometimes for really bad films.
“John” really needs two things, severe editing and reframing to figure out what’s it’s about.
I’m fully aware playwright Annie Baker is a star of the written word, including a Pulitzer Prize.
Here, Road Less Traveled has put major resources into the production, along with assigning one of the area’s best directors, David Oliver.
This is his kind of show, deep and complicated.
And, “John” is certainly complicated and certainly intended to be deep.
The show builds on the long-time reputation of Gettysburg as a ghostly place, ghosts of the tens of thousands in blue and gray who died on three July days in 1863 and the thousands who never fully recovered from physical and mental wounds.
A lot of people believe the whole community is haunted.
Bully Elias Schreiber-Hoffman (Adam Yellen) and passive-aggressive Jenny Chung (Sara Kow-Falcone) arrive at a B&B run by Mertis Katherine Graven (Darleen Pickering Hummert).
They are having serious relationship problems and the proprietor is apparently taking care of her husband in the management quarters and showing the strain.
Elias and Jenny are the only people staying in the place, which leaves them free to show their problems on the couch in the living room in Dyan Burlingame interesting set.
After a while, you just want to tell them to break it off and move on.
Then, for a while, Mertis will be able to take care of her husband and help her blind sister, Genevieve Marduk (Priscilla Young Anker).
It’s hard to determine which member of this mismatched couple is the more annoying.
After a while, you just don’t care.
Clearly Baker was trying to establish some sense of terror, some sense of foreboding, some sense of the past haunting the present.
It never works.
Oliver and his cast members have done some really great work in the past, not here.
The only effective performance is Hummert’s Mertis.
“John” is not good.
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